About A Bear
When my birthmom was pregnant with me, she made a white teddy bear for me. The intention was that the bear would go with me to my new home, would be a really sweet reminder that she loved me, was thinking of me.
Of course, I didn't know about this bear until 24 years later, when I found K and she told me about it. Here she'd thought that her wishes had been respected, that the bear had been passed along to me like she'd asked.
Where it ended up, I have no idea. I will say only this: to the people at my adoption agency who decided not to pass this gift along from a mother to her daughter, y'all are fuckers. And heartless bastards. Seriously.
Even when I dealt with them 24 years later when I started my search, they acted like I was asking too much to even inquire about my origins. That whole 'well, you have a nice family now, you shouldn't want to know anything else' mentality which is absolutely a bunch of horseshit. Not that they know for real, since they're only on the paperwork side of adoptions.
When I was searching for K, I wrote to the agency with a list of questions. This was beyond the non-identifying information that I was legally entitled to, but still the questions I asked vague enough to fall under that grey area. The woman who handled my request sat on it for months, MONTHS, then wrote back.
WOO HOO!! I thought, as I opened the envelope. Here are the answers that will get me one step closer to finding her.
Nope, those fuckers at the agency? They wanted money for this service now.
Had I known that from the start, I would have sent them double the first time, just to get my answers.
Anyway, about a month after that, they sent me answers to some of my questions, but not all. Apparently I had crossed the line between non-identifying and identifying so I got what I got. With those few answers (which included an apology -- they'd calculated K's age when I was born wrong, so all these years I'd thought she was a different age when I was born. Hi, when you have like 2 pieces of information about someone so key, yet so mysterious, in your life, you'd really like those bits to be correct. So next time, couldya check your math, please?) In the end, the answers to those questions weren't what led me to K.
It was the piece of paper my Dad had, that had instructions for feeding your baby. Under Baby's Name, that sheet, WHICH HAD BEEN IN MY PARENTS HOUSE THE ENTIRE TIME, it said "A___ N___."
That name matched up with the name of the baby I'd found on the birth index (i.e. that baby was me! OMG my name was once A___ N___!) and that single bit of information was the key to finding K and to finding answers to questions that had, in some ways, always driven me. Some of the info the fuckers from the agency (FFTA) sent me did help, once I passed this point, but not much.
In the end, I hired a PI to track down the rest of the information because the last step was to essentially call people and lie about being a distant cousin doing a family tree to figure out if these unsuspecting people's families matched up to the non-identifying information that I had. I had things like 'siblings a and b were ages x and y when you were born, so it was finding out if the family we suspected was them matched that.
It took my searcher 2 phone calls to get to that point and get enough information about K that she found her address and phone number the next day. When my grandmother T hung up the phone after talking to my searcher, she turned to grandfather T and said "I think that was her."
I could not not not make those calls myself because it was essentially lying to them (for a good cause) and I was not okay with my first contact with the family being a lie. I suppose hiring the PI was a technicality, that the lie still went on but I'm pretty sure the family forgives me for that now.
So when I finally met K later that year, one of the things she asked me about was that bear. What bear? I said. I didn't get a bear.
FFTA. Where was that bear? Passed on to the social worker's own kid? Left in a box somewhere?
Seriously, y'all are heartless bastards for not passing that on.
I mention all this because...
When we came home from that loooong week in the hospital last year when Val was born, there was a package on our front porch.
It was a white bear that K had sent.
Bear and Val at 3 months.
Bear and Val at 14 months